Lee Zii Jia commended the rise of former national team-mate Ng Tze Yong, who stood in admirably for the country’s top men’s singles shuttler by winning a silver medal in the individual event at the Commonwealth Games last month.
Lee was asked about Ng hours before the Johor-born shuttler clinched the Malaysian Games (SUKMA) gold medal, taking down second seeded Leong Jun Hao in three games.
“I’m happy to see how much he is improving. I hope we can both represent the country in top-tier events after this. We don’t keep in touch that often, but I do follow his progress,” Lee told Stadium Astro.
Ng is currently ranked 36th on the world rankings, and should surpass Liew Daren (29th) as the second highest Malaysian men’s singles soon enough.
After winning the SUKMA gold on Saturday, Ng said playing in that kind of atmosphere helped him greatly to handle pressure, a trait that would be important in taking on higher quality opponents.
Despite being a clear favourite for the SUKMA gold, it wasn't all smooth sailing for Ng who was unwell throughout the competition.
He was seen coughing during his matches last week, but pushed that aside to live up his favourite tag.
Ng’s next assignment will come at the Indonesia International Challenge (October 11-16), followed by the Indonesia Masters (October 18-23).
He could yet feature at the French Open (October 25-30) and the Hylo Open (November 1-6) after that.